I am glad to be able to raise the issue of services at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch in the Chamber. I hear concerns time and again in public meetings, and I thank the local groups, such as Save the Alex, that are campaigning on this matter.
In short, services at the Alex are inadequate. That is not my word, but the one used by the independent Care Quality Commission. It inspected Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which includes the Alex Hospital in Redditch, in June last year and again found it to be inadequate. That represents no change since the last inspection. Indeed, in 16 areas that the CQC inspects, only one was rated good, none was outstanding, and half were rated inadequate, with the remaining requiring improvement. That is not good enough.
On being elected in 2017, I inherited a situation where the trust had already approved a new clinical model for future acute services to which centralisation was key. As a result, regrettably, a number of services, including maternity and paediatric care, were removed from the Alex and relocated to Worcestershire Royal Hospital. Our maternity unit closed in November 2015, and paediatrics was “temporarily” transferred in September 2016. The new plan, which was rubber-stamped in 2017, is intended to relieve pressure on both hospitals, improve patient safety and address staff shortages, but almost two years on from the removal of services and the approval of the new plan, it is clear to me that it has not had the intended outcome. The hospital is still inadequate, and the trust remains in special measures. Some services have got worse. Patients cannot access services when they need them, waiting times are poor and promised investments are not coming to fruition quickly enough. Pressure has not been relieved. Patient safety is being called into question, and staff shortages persist at both sites.
Since my election, I have given NHS bosses and management time to demonstrate to me and my constituents that the new clinical model is beneficial. I have done my best to explain to constituents why services were transferred, and I have visited the hospital time and again—along with my fellow Worcestershire MPs, who are here tonight—to keep a close eye on developments.
We have thousands of dedicated and fantastic staff in our hospital. I have spoken to many of them, and my constituents report time and again that the care they receive is fantastic. I thank every single member of staff at the hospital for their work. However, I do not believe I can continue in good faith to defend the new clinical model. It is not delivering for the people of Redditch. I secured this debate to press my constituents’ concerns on the Minister and call for a fresh approach. All options must remain on the table.